Work/ Life Leader’s Series: Balance? Not For Me!


July 24, 2013

When I started the work/ life leader’s series last fall, I could never have predicted the level of insight that leaders would share with us.  This project continues to be something that you are asking for.  So, I continue to reach out to various leaders in human resources and recruiting to learn as much as possible.

Today, I am privileged to have someone I consider a true friend post his thoughts on the topic.  Jason Seiden is not only a kind and generous friend, he is a professional speaker, coach, and author.  Jason’s books, ‘Super Staying Power: What You Need to Be Valuable & Resilient at Work and the award-winning How to Self-Destruct: Making the Least of What’s Left of Your Career are two of the most popular business books on the market. Jason is also a family man who takes that role seriously.  Be sure to check out his site at

So, read on to learn how Jason makes it all work.  Then, leave a comment and let us know what you think.


When Trish asked me to guest post on work/life balance, I didn’t hesitate to say yes.

Though to be clear, I revere work/life balance about as much as an atheist believes in God.

So here’s my answer to, “How do I achieve “work/life balance?”

I don’t. I have spent extensive time the past few years doing things to lay the foundation for what I’m doing now (writing/speaking). At the time, these things caused major scheduling conflicts. I did them anyway.

I have no expectations. Rather than try to force things to happen on my schedule, I put myself in the way of opportunity and adjust quickly when it presents itself. I go. I do. I get caught up in things. Periodically I step back to assess my priorities, my strengths, and my interests: where are the themes? I ask myself. My passions find me, but only when I let go of expectation.

I grab moments when I can. My book Super Staying Power has four chapters on how to create “Magic Moments,” those perfect life moments that turn into lifelong memories. The model is real, I use it all the time. I work a lot, so I often invent ways to include my kids in my life during what would otherwise be “dead time.” I don’t worry about blocks of time, I focus on moments.

Hugs, all the time. Love is not an after-hours thing, it is a whenever-I-am-with-someone-I-love thing.

Work, all the time. Work is not an 8 to 6 thing; it is a whenever-I-get-inspired thing.

People come first. Every once in awhile, I’ll take an extended lunch with a friend. Usually, I don’t have time for it. But afterward, I’m always glad I did it.

I’m lucky. One thing my wife has been very clear about since the beginning is that breaking up is never on the table—whatever the challenge, we’ll figure out a way. I wouldn’t dare preach to anyone how to keep a marriage strong; on this score, I just got lucky.

Honesty. A client once remarked during a negotiation that I don’t dance like other vendors, I wrestle. So I do. If there’s an issue, let’s deal with it. I get paid a lot of money to help people figure out how to successfully move through office politics, which get created when people chose not to deal with the underlying issues. I’ve gotten good enough at it to know that the most efficient political maneuver is to hit issues head on whenever possible.

I have a long term perspective. Work/life balance is a lifetime thing, not a day-to-day thing.

I say “yes. I know the advice about equating “saying ‘no'” with integrity. I think that’s bullshit. Integrity means owning up to mistakes, not pussyfooting through life for fear of making one. The point at which you are in balance is as close to “over-commitment” as it is to “under-commitment.” What, if you err to one side, you’re OK, but err to the other side, and you suddenly have no integrity? Horse feathers. It’s as important to know how to say “yes” to the things you’d like to do as it is to say “no” to the things you know you can’t. If you start feeling that your integrity is on the line when you talk balance, you’re just screwed.

I manage risks rather than eliminate them. Safety is an illusion. This is life: I will get burned and that there will be tears—no question about it. No need to live in fear of the inevitable! I find a lot of success in life comes from simply accepting the risks.

I have goals. I make sure to do something every day to move forward toward my goals. For instance, I tell people about them. (You can’t help me unless you know what I want. Which right now is as many speaking opportunities as I can land, thanks.)

I don’t hide from my emotions. I use my emotions as guides. I don’t always know what they mean, but I don’t ignore them. When they speak, I listen.

I actively enjoy my life. Some days naturally suck, others are naturally great. But other days, my attitude has a big impact on my surroundings. If I notice people around me all being nasty, I assume that I must not be enjoying myself and that they’re responding to the negativity I’m emanating. Rather than get mad at them, I try to find something around me to appreciate, and I focus on it until I change my mood. When you’re having fun, you don’t worry about balance.

I live in a home, not a house. We have no “no touch” room, no nice furniture, and no rules that prioritize things over people. After all, my couch will not be at my funeral.

There it is: a relatively raw “brain dump” spurred by thoughts of that fantastical myth, “work/life balance.”

I can’t imagine there’s anyone else around whose brain goes to the same place mine does when s/he hears the question, “How do you achieve work/life balance,” and that’s probably a good thing. So take from my musings what you can, laugh at the parts where I’m ridiculous, and find that path that works for you…

Me? I’m off. I’ve got clients to call and a kid downstairs who doesn’t even know she’s got a tickle torture on the way…


  • Great Post!
    Jason has some great Basic Advice. Simple, easy to follow. We live in stressful times. Keeping everything in perspective is important. I especially relate to having goals.
    Thanks Trish.

  • Boy does this post speak to me. Makes me want to run out and buy his books! Gave me permission to let go of some guilt that my life as a business owner is not on the same schedule as everyone else’s. I work on-the-fly constantly. Readjustment is a way of life to cope with the deadlines of customers and kids. I write this as I sit at home with kids on a school snow day. Everyone cannot have 100%. So today, my kids get it. Time to grab a moment. And when my moment for business comes back around (tonight after kids are in bed) I give it 100%. Thanks for the guest post Jason!

  • These are all true – Love and work is something you cannot stop especially when you have passion for both. The only balance that you can find is the balance you force between the two. You just work-to-make what you truly want-to-work!

    “Hugs, all the time. Love is not an after-hours thing, it is a whenever-I-am-with-someone-I-love thing.”
    “Work, all the time. Work is not an 8 to 6 thing; it is a whenever-I-get-inspired thing.”

    Twitter: @BenjaminMcCall
    & LinkedIn

  • @Shennee—What can I say, I’m a Basic Guy.

    @William—Sleep much, lately?

    @Lyn—If I had an eraser that worked on guilt, I’d use it all the time. Even better: a transmogrification machine that turned guilt into an intense desire to make the most of the next moment. Now that would be something we all could use!

    @Benjamin—yep… you can’t add more minutes to the day, so you need to figure it out!

    Thanks for the comments, everyone. And Trish, thank you for the opportunity to share my take on the subject.

  • Jason, can we appoint you honorary ambassador of our campaign to Ban The Balance? We coined the term after conducting an international study of work life balance and women business owners. Some of the big strategies we learned, Jason lives too. For instance, think of life as a ‘flow’ not a ‘balance’ where you even up all the parts (coz what’s left for you then??); a great personal partner is #1; and communication with those around you about why you are doing what you do is essential (e.g. Jason’s daughter might not know she has tickle torture coming up but she knows she gets Dad-time!). Flexibility is what we’re aiming for. If you want to read the full free e-white paper on the study check it out at And you know the other biggie we found? Guilt just about ruins so many women’s lives–even when they opt for their own businesses to get flexibility! Go Jason!!

  • Hail! Hail! To the end of the MYTH of work life balance. Work is Life. Life is Work.Work is Fun. Fun is Work. Make it Wor(k)ship. Work it. Play it. Live it fully!

    Thanks for this terrific inspiring post. And I do mean inspiring. It has lit a fire in my belly to complete an article I was asked to write for Global Business and Organizational Excellence on Work Life Flow. I also teach a course on this topic and you have NAILED IT here.

    Anne Perschel aka @bizshrink
    Leadership & Business Psychologist

  • @Valerie—It is a pleasure to be considered for an honorary ambassadorship. If it’s not too forward, I’d like the honor of being stationed in Telluride, so I can get an up-close-and-personal look at the nuanced ways in which skiers “balance” their time given all the pressure they’re under.

    @Anne—where do you teach?

Comments are closed.

Jason Seiden
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About Trish

A former HR executive and HCM product leader with over 20 years of experience.


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